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dr. Kricsfalvi Anita
wset3 sommelier and tourism expert

Franciacorta sparkling tour

Franciacorta DOCG is used for both the territory as the heart of Italian champagne and the actual wine itself. The name most probably is related to the historic fact that the cluny monasteries /a remarkable monument of their presence is eg the church of San Pietro in Lamosa in Provaglio d'Iseo/ got a "duty free" or tax free /curtes francae/ area near lake Iseo in return of some services as maintaining roads to Brescia, and as they dealt with wine making.

Apart from visiting the most well known cellars like Ca del Bosco, Bellavista, Berlucchi, I can recommend visiting many more emerging fine, smaller, family run wineries with exceptional qualty-price rating in beautiful locations for your unforgettable Franciacorta sparkling wine tour.

Sparkling Life beyond Prosecco, Trento DOC and Franciacorta DOCG

Oltrepó Pavese, Lambrusco, Pignoletto

It is slightly special to gather these wine regions into one chapter, but there is a good reason to do so: geographical proximity to each other, they are all sparkling wines even if totally different in their characteristics. Oltrepó Pavese is certainly the best of all as it produces a supreme traditional method pinot noir sparkling wines apart from other still wines.

Oltrepó Pavese:

South of the river Po we find a less known but large and precious wine region near Pavia, on the way towards Piemonte, so it can be well combined with a red wine tour in the Barolo region.

Oltrepó Pavese is best respected for its Pinot Noir based traditional method sparkling wines, under DOCG quaification. However the region has a wide selection of white and red wines, Chardonnay, Cortese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera are also important wines there. I would strongly recommend this region for visiting Pinot Noir Brut sparkling wines.

Lombardia, part of Emilia-Romagna:Lambrusco, Pignoletto

Sparkling wines are dominating this region, proximity of Parma justifies a complex wine gastronomy tour (prosciutto, salame, parmesan cheese, grana padano). However this wine region is best known for Lambrusco, also labelled as the Italian beer for its light character as a sparkling easygoing wine. It is prepared in a unique wine making process, whereby sweet still wine and lightly fermented must and concentrated must are mixed then fermented by Martinotti (Charmat) method just as Prosecco.It is ideal as aperitivo, used often in cocktails and with some heavy local dishes like gnocco fritto or fat salame products.

If we approach Emilia-Romagna towards the seaside, we find on the way at the Colli Bolognesi a precious small wine region, amongst others, a DOCG qualified sparkling area of Pignoletto sparkling wines.This as many experts say could become the best domestic competitor of Prosecco, as it is already a massive good price-quality production targeting similar conusmer tastes. Light aromas, light bubbling, easy drinking, flowerish flavours yet decent acidity are all similar characteristics to the Prosecco wines.